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TDG Book Review: The Little Brown Jug, The Michigan-Minnesota Rivalry

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I was recently contacted by a publisher asking me if I'd be interested in checking out a book that might be of particular interest Gopher fans.  In the past I have had similar offers to review, such as this one which was really a fantastic book for Gopher fans.  This particular book is on the history of The Little Brown Jug and the Gopher-Wolverine rivalry.  So of course I find this worthwhile and wanted to pass this on to our readers with a TDG stamp of approval.

Playing for a rivalry trophy has become increasingly popular in college football.  So much so that teams force rivalries and design hideous trophies in an attempt to add meaning to an annual contest.  What I love, what is beautiful about The Little Brown Jug is that it naturally developed and it was the very first rivalry trophy in college football.  It was a 30 cent jug, purchased because a paranoid Michigan coach Yost thought the Gophers would dope his water.  And it started a trend that has grown to at least 75 different rivalry trophies throughout college football.

The two teams played in a highly anticipated 1903 game.  The game ended in a 6-6 tie but Michigan mistakenly left their water jug in the visitors locker room.  The two teams did not play again until 1909.

From the book...

The morning before the 1909 game, a pep rally was planned for both teams.  Minnesota's All-American captain, John McGovern, was instructed by Doc Cooke (Minnesota's AD at the time), "You tell that Michigan captain they can have their jug back if they beat us tomorrow."  Michigan accepted the challenge and defeated the Gophers 15-6.  They returned to Ann Arbor victorious, with the jug, thus beginning college football's first football trophy game."

The book breaks down the rivalry into eras and is loaded with picture after picture after picture.  Unfortunate for Gopher fans the era "dominated by Minnesota" lasted only from 1934-1942 while the Michigan dominated era is 1969-present!  Maybe that will all change in 2014!

This book is a quick read if you so desire but the real value is the page after page of pictures.  A great gift for your favorite Gopher fan or to treat yourself.

I do have a copy to give away but I will wait until the Michigan game week to bring this up again and we will figure out a way to get it to one lucky TDG fan.

Can be found on Amazon for around $22

I was able to get a few pics from the book to share.  The first is of Minnesota's equipment manager who originally found The Jug, Oscar Munson, painting the score of a Gopher win.


This is what The Little Brown Jug originally looked like.  You can see the very first 6-6 score painted on the right hand side.  And then on the left is the 1919 Gopher victory painted as well.


There were rumors of The Jug being stolen and today's Jug not actually being the original.  But this picture shows both the replica and the original after it was supposedly found behind the bushes a couple years later.


Title: The Little Brown Jug, The Michigan-Minnesota Rivalry
Authors: Ken Magee and Jon M. Stevens
ISBN: 978-1467112734

Photos used with permission from Arcadia Pulbshing
The Little Brown Jug, The Michigan-Minnesota Rivalry, by Ken Magee and Jon M. Stevens. Available from the publisher online at or by calling 888-313-2665.